The drones for construction were smaller than beetles but their solar collection grids shown like real insect wings. The swarm scattered over the ice, drifting in the soft breeze of the thin Martian atmosphere, catching the light of a small sun. Machines had been the first to inhabit the Red Planet, probing its surfaces and digging into its depths. It was always like that. Squidlike machines had been first to explore the deep seas of Europa and Titan, while geological survey mites had dug into the surfaces of Io and Ganymede. And then, like always, they died. On Mars’ surface, insect-inspired drones now litter the bare stone, their artificial lives over, their work complete. These machines had been the first, but they were not the last.